Monday, August 8, 2016

Loving my General Surgery Clerkship!

Future Surgeon Happiness :-)

I made it through the first week of my general surgery rotation, and I loved every minute of it! It’s no secret that I’m interested in going into surgery, so that’s probably affecting my judgement, but so far this has been the best experience ever! If it’s true that most medical students change their minds about what specialty they’re interested in once they start rotations, then it’s already looking like I’m going to be one of the inexorable few, but I am thoroughly enjoying every moment of my third year of medical school.

I started my rotation last Monday, and that day was spent attending different orientations, driving around to each hospital I’ve been cleared at and picking up my badges. My preceptor was also out on vacation last week, so we had to plan which surgeons I would be with and so forth for the week, but other than that, my first day wasn’t too bad.

I arrived bright and early the next day, and could definitely tell things would be a lot different from my previous rotation. It was a clinical day and I thought I would be following the surgeons around and just shadowing, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Patients were already there waiting in exam rooms, and it was my job to go in, take their history, examine any areas of concern, and then come out and present the patients. Luckily, I’m pretty comfortable dealing with patients, so I thought this was pretty fun. I also learned how to go into the computer system to see the cases and patient information since it is expected that I know all of this before the surgeons arrive.

The next three days was where the surgeries started and the real action began. I thought as a medical student I would be stuck outside of the sterile zone observing surgeries, so I was both shocked and excited when I was asked why I hadn’t scrubbed in yet during the very first case. They didn’t have to ask me twice though, as I went right away to put on my scrub gear and tried to remember the proper technique to scrubbing in. The surgeons each let me assist whether it was holding retractors, working the laparoscope camera, blotting away blood, or cutting the suture string, so I definitely felt like a part of the team. They even introduce me to patients as one of their colleagues or doctor, instead of calling me a medical student, so that just makes my soul smile. One of the surgeons even let me suture a patient, which was the highlight of my entire week. My goal is to make at least one incision by the end of the month, no matter how small, so hopefully it will happen. Even the anesthesiologist said that he will teach me how to intubate a patient, so I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to do that this month as well.

Other than that, my first week in general surgery was super fast-paced, but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. In just a few days I had the chance to see and participate in things such as port placements, inguinal hernia repairs, colonoscopies, upper GI endoscopies with Bravo placements (EGDs), lipoma removals, appendectomies, and crazily enough the list doesn’t even end there. My days were long, but there was so much action that the time just flew by. Also, I was prepared for super hard questions, but so far the questions have not been too bad and I can tell the doctors are really interested in just making sure we learn as opposed to making the students feel dumb.

Today was a lot slower than last week, but I welcomed it. The best part of the day was not having to go in so early this morning which meant I was able to take pictures and see my daughter off to school on her first day of fourth grade. I also had a chance to meet my general surgery preceptor this morning and he is super nice. We spoke for over an hour about what we would be doing this month and just getting to know each other in general. He also assigned a couple of topics that I have to present tomorrow, so I will be spending the rest of the evening reading up on that and getting my talk ready, as well as making sure I am read up on the patients we will have tomorrow. So with that being said, I will get back to work, but I look forward to what the rest of the month has in store, and of course sharing it with you all!


  1. How exciting! I have enjoyed following your blog and I am inspired by your hard work and dedication, especially as a mother! How have you handled balancing medical school and motherhood?

    1. Thank you for reading! The balance hasn't been that bad actually. I have a few old posts where I talk about how I handle everything, but now that I'm on rotations I guess it's time for an update post with the clinical aspect. Stay tuned!


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